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The company behind Compare the Market has secured an investment from Canada’s largest pension fund valuing it at £2.25bn, around the level it had been expected to obtain on the public markets before it delayed its planned listing in September.
Canada Pension Plan Investment Board will invest £675m for a 30 per cent stake in BGL Group, which owns a number of insurance businesses along with the meerkat-fronted UK price comparison site.
The investment comes amid turbulence in the wider UK price comparison sector.
ZPG, which owns house-hunting portal Zoopla as well as comparison sites money.co.uk and uSwitch, has been making unwanted advances towards rival Gocompare. It offered £460m for the UK-listed site last week — its second approach in six months — which was “unanimously and unequivocally” rejected by Gocompare’s board.
The competition watchdog is also looking at sites’ practices. After more than a year looking at comparison websites that help customers select anything from car insurance to energy contracts, it emerged in September that the Competition and Markets Authority had launched a probe into Compare the Market over its home insurance deals. The CMA has since announced enforcement cases against two car hire comparison websites.
BGL had been preparing for an initial public offering since 2016, with the flotation expected before the end of this year. But in September, two weeks before news of the CMA’s investigation, it said it was delaying the process into 2018.
The IPO had been expected to value the company at more than £2bn.
Peter Winslow, chairman of BGL, said its shareholder had received “a number of approaches from different kinds of investors” during the course of its IPO preparations and “a competitive process was followed” before the deal with CPPIB was agreed.